People seem to forget–or just disregard–the importance of writing well for social media, even their personal accounts. Keep in mind that what you put out on social media becomes identified with you: It’s all part of your brand. And what you put on the Web stays on the Web.
PRNews Online offers six reasons why the rules of grammar still apply. Although the column is aimed at PR professionals, the reasons apply to everyone. Social media addicts should review that list, paying particular attention to Rules 2 and 3 (Professionalism and Respect). Do you want to be taken seriously? If so (and you should) adhere to the rules of grammar and punctuation while writing for social media.
Grammar and punctuation errors on social media (and forums, for that matter) are as varied as the writers themselves. But I’ve seen several types of mistakes time and again. Let’s review these. If any apply, make an effort to improve. (Of course, if your copy suffers other ailments, work on those as well.)
Incoming search terms:
- customer service OR customer support social media
- public relations OR PR social media
- social media brand
- social media case
- social media case study
- social media study
Improving your communication skills can improve your leaderships skills as well, according to Jason VanderPal. VanderPal a sales trainer with a a very successful sales career under his belt, discussed this during a recent meeting of Rotary Club of New Berlin. VanderPal walked us through his formative years with a major retailer out west.
Employed at Guitar Center in California for several years, VanderPal was asked to give a speech during the firm’s 2007 national conference. That presentation was so well received, he was offered the manager’s position at Guitar Center’s Hollywood location – their flagship store. “I have a 20-minute speech to thank for that,” he says.
Interested in enhancing his public speaking skills, VanderPal joined Toastmasters, then enrolled in an intense, three-day workshop created by renowned public speaking trainer Bill Gove. VanderPal shared some important tips from that training.
1. Make a point, then tell a story. Segue into your story by saying, “Let me give you an example.” Examples and stories help audience members understand your point.
Have you ever attended a presentation that put you to sleep? (Maybe one of your presentations had that effect!) Or, how about the presentation that all but slipped your mind by the following day?
A presentation can fail for a number of reasons. One cause is a lack of stories. Good stories are powerful tools, noted Rob Biesenbach during this month’s Milwaukee PRSA meeting.
Biesenbach, who owns Rob Biesenbach LLC, kicked off his presentation with a few stories of his own. A long-time Chicago resident, Biesenbach has “commuted” to Milwaukee at least 150 times over the years. He has also traveled around Wisconsin. He learned to ski in the state, observed the infamous goats atop Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, and got married in Lake Geneva.
As a result, we in the audience developed a connection to Biesenbach. Which is one of his points. “Story telling is one of the most powerful forms of communication,” Biesenbach says. “It breaks down barriers.”
Our brains are naturally receptive to stories, Biesenbach says. Research has shown that 63% of an audience will remember stories told during a presentation, while only 5% will recall the stats that were provided.
Stories work because they:
Speaking clearly is important all times. We accept that in business settings. We sometimes let our guard down, though, during private conversations. Of course, some of that is acceptable. After all, no one is perfect and no one expects perfection from others.
There is a fine line between casual and sloppy conversation. If you want to be–and remain–a polished speaker, you should practice the fundamentals in every instance. Some people think they can switch on the communication skills when needed (say, for a business presentation). That’s not as simple as it seems. Speaking clearly when necessary becomes easier when you commit to speaking clearly all the time.
Consider your phone or Skype calls, social gatherings, and other private events. Every time you open your mouth to say something, use the opportunity to practice what you’ve been taught. Eventually the principles become second nature, and you’re speaking well in all circumstances.
Public speaking training: Provide your own introduction.
Ensure a proper introduction by writing your intro. Too many speakers simply hand the host a thick bio or multi-page résumé. The person has to sift through all that material–on the spot–to get to the relevant information. Worse, the person reads all of it, wasting valuable time and boring your audience to tears. (I once suffered through a nearly 5-minute introduction!)
Write a brief intro that gets to the relevant facts. Keep to about 90 seconds, as you can say a lot in that amount of time. Mention your current position and firm, touch on the relevant history, and offer a theme or takeaway along with the title. By providing an intro, you get to properly set the stage for your presentation.
Provide your intro to the meeting host ahead of time so the person has time to review it. (Another hint: type in large font – 14 or 16 point – so the host doesn’t have any trouble reading your copy.)
Bottom line: Always provide your own intro.
For additional training, see “5 tips to keep your presentation on time” and “Presentation tip: Don’t let gaffes trip you up.”
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